The past 72 hours have deepened the mystery and national foreboding about the sacking of the Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Othman, the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and the Minister for Rural and Regional Development, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal.
The question that is looming ever larger is whether the sackings represented a prelude to a multiple attack on the national institutions including the press, Parliament, the 1MDB “special task force” comprising the Attorney-General’s Chambers, Bank Negara Malaysia, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency and the Royal Malaysian Police to save the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak from the 1MDB scandal.
The latest political hurricane started with the totally unacceptable reason for the sudden and summary sacking on Tuesday of Gani as Attorney-General who had served as the first legal officer of the Crown for 13 years and two months short of retirement on reaching 60 years old, on the ridiculous ground of “health reasons”.
While Gani’s “kidney problem” is not an official secret and is widely known, it has not incapacitated him from carrying out his duties as Attorney-General.
In fact, in recent weeks, Gani was never more in command of his powers and resources as head of the multi-agency Special Task Force into the 1MDB scandal, suspending banking accounts and starting the arrest of several persons connected to the 1MDB scandal.
New Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali has said that Gani’s termination as Attorney-General was in line with the Federal Constitution and that his rank was not reduced in any way.
Malaysians do not appreciate euphemisms from the new Attorney-General or from the Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Ali Hamsa who was clearly less than truthful when he said on Tuesday morning that Gani’s termination as Attorney-General effectively July 27 was due to health reasons, as the “health” here clearly refers to Gani’s “political health” and not “physical health” whether of the kidney or other variety.
Malaysia has now a world-renowned Prime Minister who could not say a simple “Yes” or “No” to the simple question whether US$700 million or RM2.6 billion was deposited into his personal bank accounts in AmBank in March 2013 just before the dissolution of Parliament and the holding of the 13th General Election, and answer the subsequent questions where the monies came from and where and to whom the monies have gone to for the 13th General Election campaigning; whether the Ministers and Deputy Ministers including the newly-appointed ones had received funding from Najib’s personal accounts and whether they will collectively and individually make such a public declaration?
Is Malaysia to produce an Attorney-General who is similarly afflicted with the malady and the inability to say a simple “Yes” or “No” to the question whether his predecessor, Gani Patail, had been sacked as Attorney-General although the Prime Minister had charitably retained him as a judicial and legal service officer until he undergoes mandatory retirement on Oct. 6, 2015?
If the new Attorney-General cannot be honest about whether Gani Patail had been sacked as Attorney-General after serving nearly 13 years as AG and only two months before his mandatory retirement at the age of 60, can Malaysians have any trust in Apandi’s statements, assurances or undertakings or those made by his officers in the Attorney-General’s Chambers so long as Apandi is Attorney-General?
The position has been aggravated with the Sarawak Report publication of a draft of the charge sheet purportedly done by former Attorney-General, Gani Patail against the prime minister and another person.
Sarawak Report said the charge sheet against Najib, in the final draft stages, had led to Gani’s sacking on Monday although his contract as A-G was until October.
The site said that Gani was abruptly removed when he was “on the brink” of filing corruption charges against the prime minister. ”
Sarawak Report said the charge sheet against Najib was under Section 17 (a) of the MACC Act and an alternate charge under Section 409 of the Penal Code. The first charge carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
When contacted last night about Sarawak Report’s exclusive article, Apandi declined to comment on the ground that he did not know anything about the report.
Late last night, the Attorney-General’s Chambers head of prosecution division Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah tweeted a denial regarding the charge sheet.
This morning, Apandi has launched into an offensive firing with both barrels, dismissing the purported draft as “false”, alleging that it pointed in the direction of a plot to topple the prime minister and warned of stern action against the perpetrators.
Apandi said: “These alleged charge papers therefore indicate there is a conspiracy to topple a serving prime minister by criminalising him, and that the methods include doctoring (documents) and criminal leakage.
“This plot represents a threat to Malaysia’s democracy and I will direct for all possible actions to be taken to investigate the matter.
“The full force of the law will be applied without exception on any that are found guilty.”
It would appear that there is a lengthening list of people who could be hauled in a dragnet against a so-called ring of conspirators in an international plot to “criminalise” Najib and to topple the elected Prime Minister, and who could be charged under Section 124 of the Penal Code for “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy” which could send persons convicted of the charge for up to 20 years in jail.
But the denial by Apandi and the AG’s Chambers are grossly inadequate.
Let Gani appear in the public to explain whether there is any basis in the Sarawak Report exclusive about the purported charge sheet against the Prime Minister for corruption as Gani is still in the legal and judicial service.
Surely, Gani has not disappeared into thin air since his sudden, summary and shocking sacking as Attorney-General on Tuesday morning, after he answered press phone query to express his surprise and ignorance at the termination of his tenure.
Surely, Malaysia has not become a modern-day Stalinist Kremlin where a person could suddenly become a non-person and disappear into the Gulag?
Malaysians have a right to see and hear from the previous Attorney-General Gani whether he was in the final drafting stage to charge the Prime Minister for corruption when he was suddenly and summarily sacked as Attorney-General.
All patriotlic Malaysians are concerned that the country appears to be hurtling headlong towards the precipice of a failed state, which will signal a new dark age for Malaysia.
DAP calls for reason, good sense and patriotism to prevail to prevent the descent of a new dark age – and I will like to direct this call specifically to the new Attorney-General Apandi Ali.